My Story: How My Life Changed

How An Olympic Athlete Redefined Her Worth

No other gods. U.S. Olympic Speed Skater Rebekah Bradford's life in Christ.

Rebekah Bradford with Amber Kinneer

I’ll never forget the date December 30, 2009. I was competing for the last spot on the 1,000 meter speed skating team for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

That day I prayed Psalm 31:15: “My times are in Thy hand” (King James Version). Little did I know how the whole Psalm foreshadowed the day ahead.

On my final try, 20 feet from the finish line, I “supermanned,” crashing onto the ice with arms outstretched. My skin suit tore down the backside, and I skated off the ice in tears, my dream seemingly shattered.

I was embarrassed and mortified. I thought, “That’s it. That was my career. I'm done.”

The chief referee approached me, offering a re-skate. U.S. Speedskating rules permit one re-skate. I was so tired, I didn’t want to do it.

I was embarrassed and mortified. I thought, “That’s it. That was my career. I'm done.”

But seeing my three-year-old nephew sitting in the stands with nine other family members, I knew I had to go for it. I didn’t want my nephew to think you can fall and just not get up.

I changed into a new skin suit and sent a text-message to a few people asking for prayer.

When the gun went off, everything became a blur. I couldn’t see that everyone in the Utah Olympic Oval had stopped what they were doing to cheer me on.

I finally looked up and read my time of 1:16:03. I made a personal record and the Olympic team!

Shortly after graduating from high school, I moved to Salt Lake City to pursue my dream of competing in the Olympics. With the answered prayer from the day of my trials largely forgotten, I lived my life with total disregard  for God.

There came a point when I felt I needed to spiritually define my life and gain perspective.

In the past, skating was my religion. I used my talent to gain status and appear successful within my social network. But inside, I was tormented by depression and anxiety.

There came a point when I felt I needed to spiritually define my life and gain perspective.

I couldn’t understand the purpose of life. My self-worth and self-image were completely wrapped up in my performance and ranking.

After exhausting what I thought were all my means of finding happiness, I reluctantly went to the last place I expected to find peace: church.

I remember stepping into my first service as a complete cynic, determined to squeeze that congregation into my paradigm of hypocrite Christians. I can’t remember what the words of the message were, but I knew that everything I was taught from the Bible as a child was the truth.

That night I chose to have God at the center of my life.

Now I use skating as a means of worshiping God. Athletes in Action, Cru’s sports ministry, posted my biography on their website, Beyond the Ultimate, to encourage other athletes to consider a relationship with God.

It isn’t about me or skating but about God and His love. He sent His Son, Jesus, to take away the condemnation that was on me and to give me life to the fullest.

He offers that love and relationship to everyone.

Would You Like To Know God Personally?

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